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联合早报: 领导基金会教师奖得主: 激发特需学生学习兴趣比成绩更重要
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联合早报: 领导基金会教师奖得主: 激发特需学生学习兴趣比成绩更重要

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a picture of two teachers holding The Leading Foundation Teacher Award

胡洁梅 18 October 2016

特别学校教师郭正才利用乐高让学生创作动画,也利用机器人等来提高学生的学习兴趣。对他而言,学生享受学习过程并从中激发他们的好奇心,这比学生的成品更为重要。

郭正才(33岁)在特别需求者协会东陵学校(APSN Tanglin School)任教,是今年领导基金会教师奖的得主之一。

领导基金会教师奖(The Leading Foundation Teacher Award)自前年起颁发,目的是肯定学前教育工作者、特别需求教师和教育协作人员(Allied Educator)在专业领域的卓越表现。

该基金会由新加坡政府投资公司集团总裁林祥源与女儿林华敏设立,基金会目的是支持教育与领袖培养项目,特别是肯定学前和特别教育工作者的贡献。林祥源曾在不同政府部门任要职,包括公务员首长、教育部常任秘书。

今年共有四人得奖,另三人是人民行动党社区基金会(PCF)Sparkletots学前教育中心教师帕敏吉(Parvinjit Kaur)和扎希拉(Zahirah Bte Surian),以及圣加俾尔中学教育协作员贾雅然(Jeyaram s/o Kadivan)。

郭正才踏入特别教育工作五年,对他而言,获奖是种肯定,但最大的成就感莫过于看到特需学生的才华获得他人赞赏。

他分享说,今年中带领几名学生到新加坡科技设计大学举办的“制汇节”(Maker Faire)参展,由学生介绍他们的三维打印作品。参观者在反馈单中反映对学生作品的欣赏,好些公众表示并没发觉他们是来自特别学校。

他说:“看到学生能够独立,在公众面前展现自信并获得肯定,我更加确信我的(职业)选择是正确的。”

特别需求者协会东陵学校的学生主要患有轻微智力障碍,郭正才是推动科技教学的其中一名教师。他认为,学生在制作机器人(robotics)等时能应用数学和科学概念,激发他们的思考能力和好奇心,学习也更有趣。

另一名得奖教师帕敏吉(36岁)曾是骨科矫形外科助理,因为喜欢与孩童互动,六年前到PCF Sparkletots学前教育中心(兀兰第677座)教书,边工作边进修学前教育课程。她间中也曾到AWWA的特别教育学校工作一年。

她说:“每当看到孩子的笑容,或听他们和我分享故事,我就觉得很欣慰。”

颁奖仪式由国立教育学院和新加坡社会基金会联办,新加坡社会基金会是管理领导基金会的非营利机构。评审来自国立教育学院、教育部和新加坡幼儿教师协会。今年的得奖教师可获得1350元现金和奖状。

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A call to continue rallying together

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A woman in a scrub suit stands confidently in front of a hospital, ready to provide medical care.

Thank you to everyone who have generously supported the community-driven Sayang Sayang Fund. We have far surpassed our initial target of $500,000! This was made possible with help from many private individual and corporate donors who donated to the fund directly or set up their own fund-raising pages.

Transport vouchers have already gone out to healthcare professionals in hospitals and polyclinics. We will soon be supporting other community healthcare staff and charities serving those who have been impacted by precautionary measures due to COVID-19, such as vulnerable seniors and low-income families.

The pandemic will be here for a while and even as the economy slows down, many charities, hit by restrictions in fund-raising efforts, have begun bearing millions of dollars in lost donations. They need our help. That is why we want to keep the Sayang Sayang Fund open, to help make sure no one falls by the wayside during this challenging period.

Your heart-warming outpouring of love truly brings to life the community spirit of the Sayang Sayang Fund. Thank you for your continuing support.

* Launched on 11 February, the Sayang Sayang Fund is a community impact fund to care for the vulnerable in our community during times of national crises. 

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Stories Of Impact

Empowering Her Dream: International Women’s Forum Singapore Aids Young Fashion Designer’s Success

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two women standing next to each other

Denise Yeo was juggling two part-time jobs while studying full-time for a degree in Fashion Design & Textiles at LASALLE College of the Arts. So, she was overjoyed when she received an education grant from the International Women’s Forum Singapore (IWF). “The money meant I could divert more time to my studies,” says the 23-year-old student.

Funding her degree has been a struggle. Her father is disabled in both legs and cannot work. Her mother works in a restaurant and Denise’s elder sister, who looks after their father, had to take out a loan from her Central Provident Fund savings to help Denise pay for her tuition fees.

The $4,500 IWF grant has let her cut back on her working hours in her crucial final year. It also helped fund her graduation project – a collection of six looks inspired by the whimsical, playful nature of clowns – which is critical to building a career in fashion. “Fashion involves a lot of money and time,” says Denise, who graduates in April 2023. The financial security allowed her to devote more time to designing her collection and invest in better quality fabric and trimmings.

Denise is already crafting a name as a designer to watch. In 2021, the articulate and talented young lady won the Men’s Folio Designer of the Year competition. She plans to start a brand of her own and pursue a master’s degree and a PhD. Grateful for how the IWF grant positively impacted her, Denise hopes more philanthropic support can be extended to students in the creative arts.

The annual grant came from the IWF Singapore Education Grants Fund, a donor-advised fund (DAF) which IWF set up in 2014 with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS). IWF is an invitation-only network of accomplished women dedicated to advancing women’s leadership and championing gender equality. It strongly believes in nurturing the next generation of women by providing access to education and mentorship.

The IWF Singapore Education Grant aims to support deserving young women in any field, in any educational institution in Singapore. Beneficiaries are typically students between the ages of 17 to 35 who are applying or studying for a diploma or degree at a local polytechnic or university, and who are at risk of dropping out due to financial challenges.

Aside from monetary aid, the grant seeks to equip these students with life skills and guidance on career choices. This is done with the help of the Young Women’s Leadership Connection, a mentorship programme initiated by Mrs Arfat Selvam, Managing Director of law firm Duane Morris and Selvam LLP. For IWF, partnering with CFS has been the ideal way to fulfil its specific philanthropic goals. As Singapore’s only community foundation, CFS is a leader in philanthropy advisory and grantmaking, and will celebrate its 15th year of connecting donors with opportunities to make impact in 2023. Tapping into its deep roots in the community, CFS helped IWF navigate unmet needs in the educational sector, backed by its solid knowledge of local institutes of higher learning and data such as the cost of education.

With the help of CFS, IWF looks for students with grit – those who strive to excel in their chosen field. Beyond that, it also seeks out students with a strong desire to make a difference to their community and who show empathy for the less fortunate. In Denise’s case, what helped her stand apart was her commitment to sustainability.

While working in F&B, she gained an appreciation for managing waste, recycling and thoughtful sourcing of materials. This prompted Denise to weave in elements of eco-consciousness into her designs. She opts for natural fabrics, instead of synthetic ones, and is creating outfits that can be worn in many different ways, to improve their lifespan.

In 2021 alone, the IWF fund supported grants to 31 students in tertiary institutions. Since its inception, the IWF has awarded a total of 143 grants to 127 unique young women from 13 local institutions. Through its long-running generosity and tireless mentoring, the IWF has made a lasting impact on the lives of numerous young women.

Establishing a DAF with CFS is a seamless, cost-effective and flexible way for donors to embark on their very own giving journey. As a one-stop philanthropic centre, CFS tailors each DAF to a donor’s motivations and handles the tax, legal, reporting, governance and fund management requirements. This is all carried out at minimal cost. Backed by 14 years of experience and counting, CFS is honoured to be the leading provider of DAFs in Singapore today.

For more on how CFS can help you on your philanthropic journey, please visit this page.

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CFS’s first brand campaign ‘Portraits of generosity’ to inspire giving

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"My Cho Cho Ma She started our family's journey of giving" Keith Chua

In tandem with its 10th anniversary, CFS launched its first ever brand campaign ‘Portraits of Generosity’– a series of heart-warming donor stories uncovering each donor’s motivation for giving.

Looking back at their lives, donors share their motivations for why they chose to give back to those in need. Be it an act of kindness, a family member’s compassion or a long tradition of philanthropy, the campaign unearthed the diverse experiences which left a mark on each donor’s life and spurred them to give back. Donors also open up about their philanthropic journey, why they chose to support specific causes and how seamless the giving experience can be through starting a fund with CFS.

The campaign kicked off with six of CFS’s donors: Keith ChuaTrina Liang-Lin and Edmund LinGovind Bommi, Yeo Suan Wei and Liontrust. “We believe that every act of giving is inspired by a story of life, values and experiences. Working with our donors and agency DDB, we brought these stories to life through a relatable and engaging campaign. Through these first-hand accounts of giving, we hope that others will realise that they too, have it in them to open their hearts and give back,” commented Yuen Yee Foong, Head of Marketing at CFS.

Launched across multiple media platforms including video, digital and print, the campaign runs from August to December 2018.

Reflecting upon a growing social consciousness amongst Singaporeans, Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS remarked, “I believe there are many others like our donors in Singapore who want to contribute back to society, but have not considered becoming philanthropists themselves. By sharing their stories on a larger platform, these donors show us what is possible.”

She added, “Their passion reminds us of the joy of giving, especially when giving resonates with causes we care about.”

Read and view ‘Portraits of generosity’ here.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Beyond cultural philanthropy: The art of making a difference

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group of musicians practicing together

Last month’s Patron of the Arts event was a spot of sunlight at a time of gloomy Covid-19 headlines. The fact that Singaporeans – individuals as well as corporations – are still strongly supporting our arts groups in cash donations as well as with in-kind gifts was a heartening takeaway for everyone who cares for the arts and cultural scene in our country.

The annual awards – alongside a similar counterpart in the heritage sector – are a meaningful way to thank those who have been generous to the cultural landscape. And I am sure patrons also enjoy being in the limelight for an evening and being recognised for the vital support that they give to Singapore’s culture.

Cultural philanthropy is important for sustainability in the sector as it complements the grants given by the Government and the income that groups earn from ticket sales, classes and other programming.

However, while awards may recognise more significant donors, in reality, everyone can play a part, and arts companies appreciate all contributions, big or small. The income tax deduction also serves as an added incentive.

But beyond philanthropic giving, there are numerous other ways Singaporeans support the cultural scene. For starters, there are the skilled but unpaid volunteers who help out in many arts companies, serving on the board or on one of the committees. Today, with many arts companies being charities and some even Institutions of Public Character, which can collect tax-exempt donations, the boards have the important role of ensuring compliance with the latest codes of governance.

Fortunately, many of our leading arts companies have volunteers from the corporate world, including bankers, lawyers and accountants, who can contribute their expertise and ensure companies are well run, with funds from donors and grant-givers accounted for.

Sometimes, where necessary, they even mediate the relationship between the artistic team and company’s administrators who manage the purse strings.

Supporting artists’ works

It is also important to remember philanthropic giving typically benefits these arts charities. So any largesse may not benefit the freelance musicians, creative writers and visual artists, unless they receive commissions from the companies.

That is why there is another kind of patron who should be recognised. These patrons visit the artists’ studios, check what they are working on, and acquire or commission new works as a show of support. This is not philanthropy that attracts tax deductions, but such patrons have been instrumental in sustaining the careers of the visual artists, especially in the early days of their practice.

One sterling example of how one individual can make a difference is architect, art collector and former chairman of the National Gallery Singapore Koh Seow Chuan. His support of, and genuine interest in, Singaporean artists from pioneer painters like Cheong Soo Pieng to young contemporary artists, is well known and documented in Singapore’s art history. Singapore needs more committed patrons like Mr Koh.

Corporations, too, can give work to home-grown artists through active commissioning. For example, Raffles Hotel, as part of its reopening earlier this year, commissioned a playwright and theatre practitioners to create a virtual whodunnit set on the hotel’s beautiful grounds.

Co-owning the arts

But why is giving to the arts important in the first place? Why can’t the Government just fund and take care of everything? Well, that is because the arts should be co-owned by the people, even if there is strong government support. This model also ensures a diversity of artistic expressions and encourages more ground-up creations.

For individuals who step up and offer their time, energy and financial wherewithal, I suggest that they are driven by a deeper desire beyond a personal love for an art form. They clearly understand that art created from the community has something unique to say about the world we live in, conveyed through an artist’s sense of aesthetics or personal philosophy.

Such individuals also appreciate how the arts can inspire, restore weary spirits, and bring joy to people. Thus, by enabling artists or arts groups, these engaged individuals enrich the larger community and by extension, the nation.

For those with both ambition and resources, individuals have even galvanised like-minded people with diverse skills to start an arts company. Two relatively new organisations that have made significant strides in recent years are the Jazz Association, which develops and promotes home-grown jazz talents, and Re:Sound Collective, which programmes excellent chamber music for classical music lovers.

This is the spirit we need to harness in the Singapore of tomorrow. Certainly, the Government has signalled that it welcomes more partnerships with the private and people sectors, and no doubt, it has the resources to enable growth. This, of course, means a joint ownership of the arts and the attendant challenges in artistic excellence and audience development.

For those with the interest, skills or financial means but have no idea how to navigate and support the cultural scene, here are some practical suggestions.

The National Volunteer And Philanthropy Centre provides a service that matches skilled volunteers with leadership roles in non-profit organisations, including arts companies. First-timers can always start with event-based volunteerism, or by serving on a sub-committee, before offering to contribute on a board.

For those with more substantial financial means, they can approach the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), which can advise them on how to start a fund to support the cultural scene.

The CFS has helped donors set up charitable trusts with an interest in giving to the arts, among other priorities, on a sustained basis. In particular, newly settled entrepreneurs or business owners from overseas could consider this both to support and better understand the Singaporean cultural fabric.

One area Singapore can do better is in how the Government and an active citizenry can jointly identify the gaps in specific sectors, and establish ways to work together on solutions and co-deliver the outcomes. The Government should not be expected to have its finger on the pulse of every part of society, and indeed may not also be in the best place to respond to every challenge.

Timely questions

For the arts, this is a timely question as the National Arts Council takes stock of its first five-year arts master plan and looks ahead to its next.

Should grooming pop music talent for export or developing community arts for positive social outcomes be a priority? What about adapting our home-grown literature across multimedia or facilitating more translations? And importantly, how can the people sector jointly own these priority areas?

The approach here applies to other parts of society as well – from the social sector to sports and the environment. A trusting partnership between the Government and committed citizens will lead to Singaporeans proactively owning challenges and gaps in specific sectors, encourage experimentation on new approaches while providing greater clarity to private funders and skilled volunteers on where to focus their energies.

Successful partnerships will also reduce duplication and inefficiencies, such as having too many parties with similar missions or chasing after the same demographic to provide services.

As existing non-profit companies make an objective assessment of their future and relevance to their stakeholders, government agencies will also need to reflect on how much more space they can cede to support the growth of the people sector to achieve such strong partnerships.

This will be critical for a resilient citizenry, as society matures and the people continue to grapple with the pernicious impact of a protracted pandemic.

  • Paul Tan is the former deputy chief executive of the National Arts Council and serves on a few boards of non-profit arts companies in Singapore.

If you would like to start your journey of effective giving, visit here.

This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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